Props? Loose Man? It’s all a bit of a myth now isn’t it. They are middles, as one forum guest on Hull Kingston Radio, yes we’re looking at you Johnny Compton, explained so brilliantly. So here’s our new(ish) blog ‘Up the Middle.’
Every week we’ll bring you the world of Rugby League as it happens. We’ll keep the blog going throughout the week and all in one place, Monday to Sunday, with the aim of grasping your attention, your bites and your vocal cords – after all that’s what we, well mainly Dave, does best.
W/C 09/10/2017 – Last updated: 11/10 15:00pm
Friday – Mahe backing Bureta to shine
Mahe Fonua is backing his replacement Bureta Faraimo to shine at Hull FC.
The winger will link up with his new club for pre-season, after international duty with the United States.
“I know that Bureta Faraimo is a very good signing,” he said. “He’s strong, fast and has all the qualities needed. They’ve got a very good buy in him.
“Nick Rawsthorne is also more than capable of filling my boots and I think that will happen in the years to come.”
Wednesday – Betts talks drugs
England assistant coach Dennis Betts has offered his opinion on Zak Hardaker and drugs.
Hardaker was tested positive for cocaine use and now faces a ban, something he must deal with, as well as make some lifestyle choices.
“It’s one of those tough things to deal with,” Betts explained. “You’ve got to sort out what you can control and I can’t control individuals.
“I had this with Rangi (Chase) too. I’ve no malice towards these lads because they’re just kids who’ve made mistakes and done something stupid.
“His integrity and his morality needs to get back into kilt because of what he’s done and how he’s let people down. I imagine someone from Rugby League Cares will be in touch and there’ll be people helping him go through what he needs to go through.
“This is not a rugby league issue, it’s a society issue. This is just a young man who has background issues with where he grew up, anger issues he’s dealt with and he’s got money in his pocket.
“It’s really hard for me to comprehend. I can’t understand what would make him do what he did. I can’t see what he was even thinking. There’s support everywhere in rugby league though. We are as far advanced as any other sport with mental health issues, drugs and gambling. We’re good.”
Tuesday – New gig for Motu?
In every success story there’s always one man behind the scenes that strings everything together, and in Hull FC’s case this man has been Motu Tony.
Motu, a former player too, has been instrumental off the field with recruitment and retaining players, and leaves for his homeland New Zealand this winter with everyone’s best wishes.
The Mole in Australia has reported he will now link up with the NZ Warriors in the NRL in a similar role to his one at Hull.
In answer to your Twitter question Moley. Yes he’s good – he’s very good.
Tuesday – Warrington on the move
Warrington have had a disappointing season – that goes without saying. Tony Smith’s departure brought a changing of the guard with Steve Price confirmed as their new coach last week.
They’ve now signed up London’s impressive Andrew Henderson too as assistant coach. Will 2018 be their year though? Probably not.
Tuesday – Win for England Academy
Hull FC youngster Cameron Scott starred for England Academy as they beat France 19-18 on Monday night.
Scott, who signed for Hull ahead of the 2017 season, has impressed for the clubs Reserve side this year, and continued his eminence with a try and a try assist against his French opposition.
The game was in the balance for the majority, until a late drop-goal won the game.
Monday – England Squad
England coach Wayne Bennett has certainly been on the banter bus, after naming his squad for the 2017 Rugby League World Cup. Scott Taylor is the only representation from Hull FC, with powerhouse names such as Kevin Brown included.
To view the whole squad click here
Monday – Bad boy Hardaker
Zak Hardaker was infamously left out of Castleford’s Grand Final squad last week, with news now emerging the fullback was tested for a banned substance.
In a statement the RFL said: “We can confirm that Zak Hardaker is provisionally suspended from all competition after it received notification from UK Anti-Doping that he had tested positive for a banned substance.
“He will therefore not be considered for the England Rugby League World Cup squad. The RFL will be making no further comment until the outcome of the case has been determined.”
In a club statement Castleford said, “The club was made aware at 10:00am on Thursday morning that the player would receive official written notification from UK Anti-Doping and therefore the player was immediately suspended. Official notification was delivered on Friday and following discussions with the player on Sunday the decision was taken to announce the result of the test today in order to clarify the circumstances around Zak’s omission.”
Zak Hardaker, said: “I would like to apologise to my Castleford Tigers teammates, the staff and all fans for my enormous error of judgment. I was given an opportunity by this great club and in what has been one of the most important weeks in its history, I have let everyone at the club down. For that, I truly apologise.
“Finally, I would like to make it clear that in no way did I, nor would I, ever take a substance with the intention of enhancing my performance.”
Maybe it wasn’t a dent in the wood after all…
Monday – World Club Challenge in Aus?
NRL Premiers Melbourne Storm seem reluctant to travel to England for the WCC, meaning Super League winners Leeds may travel to Australia to play the fixture.
The Whinos are prepared to crack up the mileage to face the Storm, in what could be the third Aussie Anglo encounter next season. The WCC is one week after the International Double Header at ANZ Stadium.
Monday – New pro club in Manchester?
Amateur outfit Manchester Rangers have shown ambition to get into the professional leagues for years. They have a great stadium set up in the City already and could take a League One place if the reported merger between Southern waste of spaces Oxford and Gloucester takes place. If true, a strong Manchester club can only be good for the sport..
Monday – Why Up the Middle?
One confused FC Forum listener (yes he was of a red and white persuasion), got a little puzzled to the term ‘Middle’ or ‘Middles’ when used in context with Rugby League.
A Middle is your middle unit, which consists of your props, hooker and loose forward. They play through, and defend, in the middle of the field, hence the term middle.
Like counting the number of tries Tom Briscoe scored at Wembley, it’s a pretty simple equation, and considering the East Hull outfits association with the Middle version of the 8s, you would assume they could grasp it.